Change and believe the good news. The New Testament Greek word for conversion is Metanoia, which means “a change of heart”, or “an act of repentance”. You might be surprised at how infrequently conversion is used in the Gospels. John’s Gospel never mentions it. Mark uses the word only three times, and Matthew seven times. Only Luke uses the word with frequency, some fourteen times. Yet the concept of conversion certainly lies at the heart of Jesus’ message in all the Gospels. “This is the time of fulfillment. The reign of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the good news!
This is the theme of the Lenten season. At the root of any act of conversion is change. Heeding the message of Jesus involves a change of mind, a change of heart and a change of behavior. Christian conversion always moves a person beyond their present state and into a new and vital relationship with God. Conversion cannot be limited to a dramatic, once-in-a-lifetime, “born again” experience. Christian conversion is more often the gradual process of God’s grace transforming our lives. It entails being born again and again and again… Here are some of the basic features of Christian conversion.
*Conversion is an act of God’s grace. God initiates the process and we are invited to respond.
*Conversion is a movement from sin, darkness and blindness toward God, light and sight.
*Conversion is a personal encounter with Jesus Christ which radically transforms the way we think, speak and live.
*Conversion is an ongoing process which begins with Baptism but which requires constant surrender to God’s will.
*Conversion changes the whole person, with an internal (attitudinal) and external (behavioral) change in life.
*Conversion results in tremendous joy and a desire to share the good news with others.
As we walk this Lenten journey, it is a perfect time for each of us to move closer to God. It is a time for us to move from sin, toward God. The best way to begin our conversion is to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to live a better life based upon Jesus’ teachings found in the Gospels.